During the occupation of West Germany after the Second World War, the American authorities commissioned polls to assess the values and opinions of ordinary Germans. They concluded that the fascist attitudes of the Nazi era had weakened to a large degree. Theodor W. Adorno and his Frankfurt School colleagues, who returned in 1949 from the United States, were skeptical. They held that standardized polling was an inadequate and superficial method for exploring such questions. In their view, public opinion is not simply an aggregate of individually held opinions, but is fundamentally a public concept, formed through interaction in conversations and with prevailing attitudes and ideas “in the air.” In Group Experiment, edited by Friedrich Pollock, they published their findings on their group discussion experiments that delved deeper into the process of opinion formation. Andrew J. Perrin and Jeffrey K. Olick make a case that these experiments are an important missing link in the ontology and methodology of current social-science survey research.
German professors and academic intellectuals are often blamed for their passivity or complicity in the face of the anti-Republican surge of the late Weimar years, culminating in the National Socialist rise to power. Karl Mannheim was a preeminent member of a vital minority committed to making German universities contribute to democratization. Mannheim argued that traditional German emphasis on the cultivation of individuals rooted in a certain high culture had to be adapted to a more egalitarian, socially complex community. He advocated teaching of sociology to create social awareness to inspire informed political judgments. Karl Mannheim's Sociology as Political Education situates Mannheim in the Weimar debates about sociology in the university. It shows how his project of political education for democracy informs his work as well as his relations with liberal, fascist, and orthodox Marxist thinkers. In advancing his educational strategy, Mannheim had to contend, with influential figures who attacked sociology as a mere political device to undermine cultural and national values for the sake of narrow interests and partisanship. He also had to overcome the objections of fellow sociologists, who felt the discipline would prosper only if it could persuade other academics that it made no claim to educational goals beyond the reproduction of technical findings. He had to separate himself from proponents of a politicized sociology. Mannheim argued that sociology should respond to problems that actually confronted individuals in their lives, be tolerant of difference and distance, and support efforts to generate agreement rather than encourage competition. Sociological thought had to be rigorous, critical, and attentive to evidence, but also congruent with the ultimate responsibility of individuals to fashion their lives through their acts. Karl Mannheim's Sociology as Political Education is a joint effort by two authors who have written separately on Karl Mannheim's sociological work and who write from different disciplines and traditions of commentary. The Mannheim who emerges from this volume is remarkably contemporary. In particular, he supports arguments that the threat to academic integrity is feared less in sociology than in certain areas of cultural studies. Certainly the issue of academic politicization was better understood by Mannheim in his time than it is by either side of the debate today.
Das Politische der Mahlzeit reicht vom komplexen Setting am Familientisch bis zum Staatsbankett, vom Status einer Speise bis zur Verweigerung von Nahrung im Hungerstreik. Die Beiträger/innen des vorliegenden Bandes nutzen diese Spannbreite, um das Essen als den politischen Brennpunkt auszuloten, den es nicht nur, aber besonders in der Gegenwart darstellt. The political meal encompasses the complex setting of meals at the family table as well as the state banquet; it reaches from the social status of a dish to the refusal of food in a hunger strike. The contributors of this volume use this breadth to examine food and eating as the kind of political arena they constitute not only but particularly in the present.--
The Idea and Image of the Masses from Revolution to Fascism
Author: Stefan Jonsson
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Between 1918 and 1933, the masses became a decisive preoccupation of European culture, fueling modernist movements in art, literature, architecture, theater, and cinema, as well as the rise of communism and fascism and experiments in radical democracy. Spanning aesthetics, cultural studies, intellectual history, and political theory, this volume unpacks the significance of the shadow agent known as "the mass" during a critical period in European history. It follows its evolution into the preferred conceptual tool for social scientists, the ideal slogan for politicians, and the chosen image for artists and writers trying to capture a society in flux and a people in upheaval. This volume is the second installment in Stefan Jonsson's epic study of the crowd and the mass in modern Europe, building on his work in A Brief History of the Masses, which focused on monumental artworks produced in 1789, 1889, and 1989.